We finally had a bit of calm weather last Tuesday after been hit by one storm after another since Christmas. It was my first opportunity to get out fishing since the beginning of the year. I decided to try a new mark that I had investigated the previous Saturday afternoon. It was a flat beach which steepened up over the last 30 m or so. I reckoned that the break in slope would be a place where bass would swim along while searching for food from about mid-way into the rising tide. It would also be sheltered from the southwesterly winds so would be a comfortable place to fish.
I got to a likely looking spot along the shore about 2.5 hours after low tide and set up two rods, one with a 4/0 pennel pulley baited with crab and the second with a two hook flapper with size 1 and 1/0 circle hooks; the lower hook baited with crab and the other with razor fish. It was a clear night, with a bright half moon and just a light breeze. There was a fairly small surf since the area was sheltered from the open sea. The more open local beaches such as Whiting Bay and Ballybrannigan were still too rough to fish after after the stormy weather. The scent of the bait would be lost within the churning surf.
Not long after setting up I had a good tug on the rod with the pennel pulley. At first I thought it was a small bass but as I got the fish in close I realized it was a dogfish. No sooner had I released it when there was a bite on the second rod; another dogfish. Fifteen minutes later I had another dogfish, this time it was what must have been the smallest one I have ever caught, followed shortly but a fourth dogfish.
It then got quite. I had a couple of missed bites but caught nothing more for nearly the next two hours. Then over high tide I returned to the rod stand after taking a stroll along the shore to find the line had gone slack on the rod with the pennel pulley. I retrieved the slack and then connected with a fish which put up a better fight compared to the dogfish and as I eased it into the shallow water I could see a glint of silver in the moonlight - it was a bass!!! Not a big fish, with a weight of about 2 lbs and a length of 43 cm, but nevertheless it was my first bass of 2014.
I had been thinking of packing up at high tide, but getting the bass gave me some encouragement to stay on longer. About half an hour later I had another dogfish. This was followed by the sixth dogfish of the night about 40 minutes afterwards.
At that stage I decided to pack up and save my remaining crabs for the next session. So while it was not a great session I was happy with getting my fist bass of the year. That was a better start to the year than 2013 when it was well into
April before I got the first bass of the year. So let's hope 2014 proves to
be a better year than last year for bass fishing.